New shows at Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery
Assistant Curator Sonya Blazek stands next to large wall drawings by Toronto artist Kate Wilson in the lecture theatre at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery in downtown Sarnia. The drawings are part of several new exhibitions opening Friday at the public art gallery. (PAUL MORDEN, The Observer)
The walls of the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery are filled with drawings, as three new exhibitions open at the public art gallery in downtown Sarnia.
They include Making Marks, an exhibition of works on paper from the McMaster Museum of Art and the Alix gallery, as well as Beside Myself, featuring drawings by London-based artist Kelly Wallace alongside video screens showing selections from Marking Time, a 20-hour film Waterloo’s Glenn Stiller made of Wallace at work in his studio.
Joining those exhibitions, all running through May 6, is Chemosphere, drawings Toronto-based artist Kate Wilson created in January on the walls of the gallery’s second-floor lecture theatre.
All three exhibitions officially open at the gallery Friday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., as part of this month’s downtown First Friday activities.
“We have over 50 works on paper” as part of Making Marks, with approximately half from the Alix gallery’s own permanent art collection, said assistance curator Sonya Blazek.
The works were created from 15th Century through the 21st Century, including several by masters, she said.
Blazek said they were able to look through the McMaster Museum collection’s vault to select pieces for Marking Marks, which explores “how emotion can be expressed by the artist through a line.”
As well as hand-drawn pieces, there are works created by water on paper, works created with computers, as well as other mediums that include lithographs, woodcuts, etchings, pencil, ink and pastel.
This week, gallery workers were completing installation of the exhibition, including adding several quotes “pulled from different books and essays about drawing” that will hang with the art.
“They’re kind of setting the visitor up for how to think about the drawings that they’re looking at,” Blazek said.
Sharing the third floor of the gallery with Making Marks is an exhibition of eight drawings by Wallace.
“This is very dense drawing,” Blazek said.
“He only draws in vertical lines . . . it’s a very rigorous, intensive process.”
Hanging in the gallery alongside Wallace’s pieces are video screens that will show a selection of the film made by Stillar.
“It kind of gives a glimpse into the artist’s studio, the process, the amount of work that goes into producing something you may only look at for a few moments,” Blazek said.
As part of the programming during the exhibitions, the gallery is offering special guided Slow View tours where visitors spend 20 or 30 minutes with a single piece of art.
For the exhibition Chemosphere, Wilson visited the gallery in early January for several days and created sketches of “site specific studies,” and then returned recently to create two large drawings on a wall of the lecture theatre, as well as “20-plus mini-drawings” scattered around the space.
“She’s inspired by vegetation, botanical forms, imaginary winds, you can see a lot of motion, and celestial references,” Blazek said.
“They really take your imagination running.”
Wilson’s work will have a temporary life because the walls will be painted over after the exhibition ends.
“The whole gallery is looking at all different forms of drawing, from drawing on paper, from the early 15th Century, all the way to someone who was just here to paint on our walls last week,” Blazek said.
Wilson, Wallace and Stillar are scheduled to take part in some of the programs and special events being held at the gallery while the exhibitions are running.
Dates, times, and other information about programs, classes and other special events in the coming months can be found online at the gallery’s website, jnaag.ca.
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer